Rob Pelinka believes Lakers may make further deals before deadline

Rob Pelinka says Lakers could make more moves before deadline 

Even though the Lakers have been doing better lately, the general manager will keep looking for ways to improve the team.

Rob Pelinka believes Lakers may make further deals before deadline
Rob Pelinka believes Lakers may make further deals before deadline

LOS ANGELES – Rob Pelinka, the general manager of the Lakers, said that he thought the front office did a good job by getting Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks. Hachimura is a wing player who can shoot from the outside. But Pelinka made it clear that "it doesn't mean our work is done" before the Feb. 9 deadline for trades. 

Pelinka said Tuesday before the Lakers played the Clippers at Arena, "We're going to keep an eye on what's going on with the other 29 teams." "As front office workers, it's our job to always look for ways to make our team better, both now and in the future. We thought Rui would be the best way to do that. So, we started right away." 

The Lakers made an early move for more than just the hope that Hachimura, who averaged 13 points while shooting 47.9% in Washington for three and a half seasons, could help the team improve its shooting and defense around the edges. The deal was made without the Lakers giving up either of their two first-round picks (2027, 2029). Pelinka also said that the Lakers "have a lot of options" for how to change their strategy, such as re-signing Hachimura as a restricted free agent this offseason.

Pelinka said that the Lakers' decision to trade their first-round picks before the Feb. 9 trade deadline is still "a really delicate calculation." 

"The Lakers have to decide if they want to win a championship or not. "There is no middle ground or slow growth," Pelinka said. "This is the lens through which we have to look at opportunities. If there's a chance to go all the way to the end and win the championship, we won't hold on to anything. But at the same time, it would be very stupid to shoot a bullet early and then not have it when you have a better move for the championship." 

LeBron James has told the front office to answer questions about the team's roster, but he has often said in press conferences and on social media that he thinks the Lakers will get better before the trade deadline. 

Pelinka said that LeBron and Anthony Davis are always involved in what Coach Ham and the front office are doing. "At the same time, LeBron said it very well at the press conference the other night when he said, "My job is to play basketball, the front office's job is to build a roster, and Coach Ham's job is to coach." I think that's right. We all have to do our jobs well and work together. This is how we work, and this is how we will continue to work." 

How the Lakers play could, in theory, change whether the front office thinks the team is just one or two trades away from being able to compete for an NBA title. 

After getting off to a 2-10 start, the Lakers are now 20-15 and will play the Clippers on Tuesday. Even though the Lakers are 12th in the Western Conference, coach Darvin Ham said that the team is "trending in a great direction with the way we're playing." And Pelinka was happy for James that he was named the Western Conference Player of the Week after scoring an average of 35 points and making 51% of his shots in four games last week. 

The Lakers also hope to have a stronger team soon. Ham said the Lakers will decide if Davis can play in Wednesday's game against San Antonio based on how "great" of a day he had during Tuesday's morning shootaround. Davis will have missed 20 games because of his sore right foot before the Lakers play the Clippers.

Ham also said that guards Austin Reaves (strained left hamstring, 10 games) and Lonnie Walker IV (left knee tendinitis, 12 games) will be evaluated at the end of the week. Hachimura is also expected to play in Wednesday's game against the Spurs. On Tuesday, he worked out before the game and spoke to the press. 

"You're always judging yourself and trying to find new ways to get better. Ham said, "Rui is a step in the right direction if you think this way." "We're still looking at what's happening and what's available. If we stand pat, we stand pat. If we do more, we do more. What it is, is. We're always looking for ways to be the best versions of ourselves and figuring out what that means. We always keep our options open."

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